Phoenix sign teenager

Wanganui teenager James Musa will take his first steps on the professional football ladder with Wellington Phoenix after signing for the A-League club for the 2010/11 campaign.

Wanganui teenager James Musa will take his first steps on the professional football ladder with Wellington Phoenix after signing for the A-League club for the 2010/11 campaign.

The 18-year-old defender, who has signed as one of the club's under-21 players, is primarily a centre back but has the potential to cover other defensive positions.

He spent six weeks training with the Phoenix last season and also took part in a training camp overseen by coach Ricki Herbert ahead of the All Whites' World Cup qualifying match against Bahrain in Wellington last November.

"Our commitment as a club is to play a leading role in developing young New Zealand players and James is a talent we believe can really go places," Phoenix chief executive Tony Pignata said.

"Jonathan Gould [Phoenix assistant coach] spotted James playing at a national age-group tournament and was impressed with his ability," added Pignata. "On that basis we invited him to train with the club and Ricki was also very impressed with what he saw."

Musa, who came to New Zealand from England with his family 12 years ago, is confident he has what it takes to succeed as a professional footballer.

"I wouldn't be here, otherwise, and obviously the coaching staff has faith in me. My aim is to work hard and learn from the coaching staff and the players around me. I want to get experience and set myself up for the future."